Ivacy VPN Review (2019): Cheap For a Reason?

Ivacy’s been in the biz for over a decade, and was the first to introduce split tunneling in 2010. But it’s still a bit under-exposed, despite being one of the cheapest around and winning the Fastest VPN award this year. Is this VPN a major steal, or a major suspect?

PROS

  • Ridiculously cheap
  • No logs
  • Huge server network
  • Tons of streaming
  • Excellent compatibility
  • Powerful mobile app

CONS

  • Slightly below average speeds
  • Poor live chat

Speed & Expectations 

VPNs tend to (with some exceptions) decrease your internet speed, due to the VPN tunnel.

To measure speed, we tested the 3 main speed indicators:

  1. Download speed: The rate at which data is transferred from the server to your device. This is measured in megabytes per second (mbps) and a higher number is better.
  2. Upload speed: The rate at which data is transferred to the server from your device. This is also measured in megabytes per second (mbps) and a higher number is better.
  3. Ping (or latency): Tested by “pinging” the server, it’s the amount of time it takes for it to receive and process your request. This is measured in milliseconds (ms) and a lower number is better.

First we ran a baseline test using a default 100mbps internet connection in Chicago, IL.

Then we tested various Ivacy VPN servers across the globe.

We ran each test 5 times to increase reliability.

Speed results

These are the results of our baseline test:

So the average baseline score was:

  • Download:88mbps
  • Upload: 23.7mbps
  • Ping: 9.2ms

Next we ran our tests on an Ivacy VPN United States server:

US averages of the 5 different speed tests were:

  • Download: 52.9mbps (39.9% slower) 
  • Upload: 15.3mbps (35.5% slower)
  • Ping: 10.6ms (15.2% longer)

(You would expect these to give the fastest results since we’re performing the tests in the US).

Next we tested Europe:

Europe’s averages were:

  • Download: 3.1mbps (96.5% slower)
  • Upload: 13.9mbps (41.4% slower)
  • Ping: 123ms (1237% longer)

Here’s Asia:

Asia’s averages were:

  • Download: 17.9mbps (79.7% slower)
  • Upload: 17.5mbps (26.3% slower)
  • Ping: 461.6ms (4917.4% longer)

South America:

South America’s averages were:

  • Download: 16.7mbps (81.1% slower)
  • Upload: 20.1mbps (15.3% slower)
  • Ping: 281.4ms (2958.7% longer)

And finally Africa:

Africa’s averages were:

  • Download: 23.8mbps (73% slower)
  • Upload: 18.8mbps (20.6% slower)
  • Ping: 254.8ms (2669.6% longer)

We also compared these results against the average of other VPN tests. How does Ivacy VPN measure up?

First up, let’s take a look at download speeds:

VPNUSEuropeAsiaS.AmericaAfrica
Ivacy VPN-40%-97%-80%-82%-73%
Perfect Privacy-6%-56%46%n/an/a
Goose VPN-48.00%-64.00%-71.00%n/an/a
Touch VPN10%9%9%n/an/a
Ra4w-54%-51%-94%n/a-57%
Freedome-38%-56%-82%n/an/a
Mullvad-50%-74%-61%-78%-37%
Betternet13%-7%-28%2%n/a
Private Tunnel-19%-66%-69%n/an/a
IVPN-23%-45%-67%n/an/a
Avira Phantom-41%-97%-98%-75%n/a
Speedify-6%-39%-73%-69%-69%
ZoogVPN-59%-74%-80%-98%-87%
NortonVPN-34%-68%-72%-29%n/a
SurfEasy-43%-61%-65%-37%n/a
Celo VPN-75%-93%-93%n/an/a
proXPN-52%-73%-74%n/an/a
X-VPN-71%-75%-99%-62%n/a
SpyOFF-66%-57%-76%-65%-63%
VPN.ht-48%-78%-68%-67%-67%
vpn.ac-52%-51%-67%-47%n/a
Tiger VPN-48%-68%-68%-55%-72%
VPN Unlimited-27%-77%-79%-64%-61%
Cyberghost-35%-59%-71%-56%-68%
Torguard-37%-58%-81%-60%-67%
ProtonVPN-35%-50%-56%-77%-54%
PureVPN-26%-68%-94%-32%-89%
Trust.Zone-14%-99%-80%-66%-82%
AVG Secure VPN-56%-87%-69%-75%-68%
Hoxx VPN-12%-96%-93%n/a-68%
VPNSecure-68%-93%-98%-61%-77%
IPVanish-36%-54%-72%-76%n/a
NordVPN-40%-99%-69%-58%-75%
ExpressVPN-71%-58%-64%-95%-67%
Avast-45%-63%-72%-66%-77%
Windscribe-44%-57%-80%-98%-73%
Average-38.8%-65.5%-69.7%-63.3%-69.1%

Download speeds were below average in all regions: just below average in the US, but woefully below average in Europe with a 97% drop.

Next, how did upload speeds compare?

VPNUSEuropeAsiaS.AmericaAfrica
Ivacy VPN-36%-41%-26%-15%-21%
Perfect Privacy-30%-70%-28%n/an/a
Goose VPN-64.00%-64.00%-33.00%n/an/a
Touch VPN-20%-41%-49%n/an/a
Ra4w30%-32%48%n/a-46%
Freedome41%22%57%n/an/a
Mullvad205%-15%64%-10%40%
Betternet24%16%12%55%n/a
Private Tunnel75%-15%13%n/an/a
IVPN77%-83%108%n/an/a
Avira Phantom252.9%-87%-60%-30%n/a
Speedify-36%-40%-29%-34%-25%
ZoogVPN117%24%50%3%24%
NortonVPN161%38%59%9%n/a
SurfEasy-4%-17%-50%-2%n/a
Celo VPN-35%-30%-40%n/an/a
proXPN-7%-15%-52%n/an/a
X-VPN-33%-61%-98%-77%n/a
SpyOFF-9%-18%-88%-52%-50%
VPN.ht-10%-17%-25%-23%-63%
vpn.ac-6%-18%-44%-16%n/a
Tiger VPN-3%-14%-20%-17%-42%
VPN Unlimited-13%-39%-85%-19%-56%
Cyberghost-8%-16%-92%-37%-48%
Torguard-9%-20%-35%-22%-41%
ProtonVPN-2%-15%-20%-41%-29%
PureVPN13%2.5%-54%-11%-72%
Trust.Zone-13%-45%-67%-28%-84%
AVG Secure VPN-19%-58%-75%-80%-77%
Hoxx VPN-5%-90%-24%n/a-51%
VPNSecure-9%-19%-92%-26%-56%
IPVanish-5%-19%-84%-22%n/a
NordVPN-13%-46%-26%-16%-70%
ExpressVPN-9%-24%-34%-72%-42%
Avast-13%-42%-78%-70%-77%
Windscribe-6%-17%-52%-97%-53%
Average16.1%-28.5%-29.2%-28.9%-44.7%

Upload speeds are well above average in South America and Africa, and just above average in Asia, but are well below average in the US and Europe.

And finally latency:

VPNUSEuropeAsiaS.AmericaAfrica
Ivacy VPN15%1237%4917%2959%2670%
Perfect Privacy72%1056%2507%n/an/a
Goose VPN210.00%1158.00%2298.00%n/an/a
Touch VPN-6%-4%-2%n/an/a
Ra4w655%1015%2234%n/a2615%
Freedome367%1965%4559%n/an/a
Mullvad309%1040%2366%1613%2568%
Betternet19%1164%2485%1483%n/a
Private Tunnel33%1046%2150%n/an/a
IVPN36%1321%2572%n/an/a
Avira Phantom35%1147%2322%1596%n/a
Speedify506%1160%2604%1689%3051%
ZoogVPN386%1931%4176%5004%6194%
NortonVPN194%1569%2276%1426%n/a
SurfEasy-9%792%1711%1058%n/a
Celo VPN915%1161%1654%n/an/a
proXPN194%996%2194%n/an/a
X-VPN-28%397%837%560%n/a
SpyOFF213%944%4278%2533%2598%
VPN.ht273%785%1667%1282%2109%
vpn.ac60%388%968%487%n/a
Tiger VPN9%895%1786%1105%2309%
VPN Unlimited33%935%3946%1411%2535%
Cyberghost27%1085%2344%1352%2415%
Torguard7%1036%2023%1384%2502%
ProtonVPN17%810%1840%1185%2017%
PureVPN-23%708%489%1018%1823%
Trust.Zone104%1206%2438%1396%2750%
AVG Secure VPN1021%1111%2419%3560%3336%
Hoxx VPN566%1098%2470%n/a2794%
VPNSecure281%1051%2519%1530%2917%
IPVanish240%1038%4144%1424%n/a
NordVPN34%1278%2328%1560%2696%
ExpressVPN98%965%2122%1545%2461%
Avast33%1133%2465%1556%2815%
Windscribe310%1018%1904%2042%2782%
Average205.5%1039.9%2316.9%1632.8%2774.7%

Latency was well above average in the US with just a 15% change in speed, above average in Europe, just above average in Africa, but well below average in Asia and South America.

Speed (Summary)

Ivacy has slightly below average speeds overall, with poor downloads, and some good but inconsistent uploads and latency. We don’t know where that ‘Fastest VPN’ award came from.

Performance & Features

In this section we look at the key features all VPNs have and see how Ivacy fares.

Number of servers: 1000+

How many active servers are available to connect to across all countries, regardless of their physical location.

This is very high. Several go higher, such as Nord’s 5,000+, but let’s face it this should be enough for everyone.

Number of countries: 56

How many countries the total number of servers cover, regardless of how many are located in a single country.

This is again very high, but some of the giants go higher. Here’s a full location list.

Number of connections allowed: 5.

How many devices can be connected to a server (or number of servers) based on a single VPN account or subscription.

This is average in the VPN industry.

Torrenting allowed: Yes (some servers).

You can torrent in 27 countries. That’s less than half the countries available.

Many other VPNs offer full or near-full access torrenting, such as IPVanish.

Kill switch available: Yes.

Whether the VPN software can disable your connection to the network in the event you disconnect from the VPN server. This prevents your IP address from being exposed.

Ivacy has kill switches on Windows and Android. It’s good that one mobile platform is covered as often they’re not, but it’s bad news for Apple fans.

Performance and Features (Summary)

Ivacy has a huge server network with over 1,000 servers in 56 countries, kill switches on Windows and Android, and an average 5 connections. However, torrenting is a pretty restricted.

Privacy & Security

Is Ivacy VPN secure and trustworthy?

First let’s look at the technical aspects:

Protocols/Encryption: L2TP, IKEv2, IPsec, and OpenVPN protocols with AES-256 encryption

Ivacy uses AES-256 encryption, which is military-grade and just about what every respectable VPN in the industry goes for. It’s safe, secure, and well-recognized. There are newer ones working their way up though, including ChaCha.

For protocols, you’ve got a few options, from best overall protocol OpenVPN, to outdated LT2P.

IKEv2 is also a good option, slightly faster than OpenVPN.

DNS leaks: None found.

IP leaks: None found.

WebRTC leaks: None.

Viruses/malware: None found.

Legal issues

Jurisdiction: Singapore. Singapore is a pretty great VPN location. It’s a pro-privacy country, and unlike Hong Kong it doesn’t have any ties to a communist country. However, although it’s outside 14-eyes, there are rumours it co-operates with 5-eyes countries.

Logging policy: No logs.

Ivacy’s privacy policy is overall pretty good.

They generally make it easy to understand and scroll through, and it’s completely jargon-free.

However, they are a bit sneaky. They initially state with clear bullets that the only information they collect is:

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Payment method

It’s slightly unfortunate they collect names and don’t hand off their payments to a third party so they don’t have it, but oh well.

But then, they slip into the text that they also log:

  • The country you’re in
  • Aggregate bandwidth usage
  • ‘Application usage’

It’s weird they store the country you’re in. I don’t see why that’s necessary. Still, it’s not very identifying in itself.

‘Application usage’ is the only worrying term, since it’s extremely vague and could mean anything. They might as well say ‘VPN usage’.

They say its purpose is troubleshooting, but they definitely should be more specific here. It makes you worry if they’re trying to hide something.

They get major plus points for listing all the third-party apps they use, along with a direct link to their privacy policies. A lot of VPNs don’t disclose this.

However, they’ve done no independent audit, and have no transparency report or warrant canary.

They recently admitted that PureVPN has minor stakes in their company, and both companies appear to be owned by Gaditek. PureVPN once provided logs to the FBI despite claiming to be a no-logs company. Not entirely reassuring, but Ivacy have been around for years and had no scandal themselves.

As a major VPN player, Ivacy should really step up to the plate and get an audit done as the number of VPNs doing so is growing.

Privacy and Security Summary

Ivacy uses military-grade AES-256 encryption with a full range of protocols, including OpenVPN and IKEv2. We found no leaks or viruses to worry about. Ivacy is based in Singapore, a pretty good location, and it’s no-logs policy is good apart from one unclear clause. They’ve got no independent audit, though.

Usability

This section looks at the following aspects:

  • Streaming/Geo-spoofing
  • Compatibility
  • Overall UI/UX

Streaming/Geo-spoofing

Geo-spoofing streaming services is a great benefit of using a VPN, but many struggle to trick Netflix and like nowadays. Ivacy makes a pretty grand claim.

Let’s see how it does.

  • Netflix: Partially Detected. US Netflix worked on its streaming server.
  • Hulu: UnDetected. Hulu also worked on the streaming server.
  • YouTube: Undetected. YouTube worked fine on all servers.
  • Kodi: Undetected. Kodi worked fine with Ivacy.

Compatibility

Is Ivacy VPN compatible with most devices?

We tested everything from Tor, iOS devices, Android devices, Smart TV’s, Amazon Firestick, Mac, Windows, to routers:

  • Tor browser: Supported. Tor works fine in conjunction with Ivacy.
  • iOS (iPad, iPhone): Supported. Ivacy has a fully-functioning iOS app.
  • Android: Supported. Same for Android.
  • Smart TV’s: Supported. Ivacy has an app for Android TVs.
  • Amazon Firestick: Supported.
  • Windows: Supported. Ivacy has a Windows app.
  • Mac: Supported. Ivacy has a Mac app.
  • Routers: Supported. Ivacy has a range of preconfigured routers (most VPNs offer just 1, if any) and a couple aren’t that pricey. It also has a router applet for DD-WRT routers, and a generic manual guide for PPTP routers.

Overall UX/UI

Ivacy has a clean-looking, nice-sized interface.

You can Quick Connect by just clicking the power button.

The server list is a dropdown with simple sorting options of country or city.

It’s a shame the server list is so tiny compared to the interface, with a miniscule scroll bar, making it a bit awkward to use. However, there is a full-screen option on another tab.

The city list is still grouped by countries, which is good. It just means you can see all the locations available. You can’t drill down to specific servers though.

Once connected, the screen changes and the server list disappears to show connection stats.

There’s not actually much there, though, just connection time. The rest is just feature-bragging. To see your IP, you have to go to a page on their website, which is odd.

In order to change servers, you have to disconnect first.

Connection times varied, from super fast to very slow.

On the sidebar, there’s streaming and torrenting options.

For streaming, you can select a whopping 79 channels from around the world. For Netflix, it automatically connects to a US server.

Ivacy will automatically connect you to a mysterious server where the location is ‘anonymous’.

It even offers to open streaming service for you in your browser. We checked a few of them, including BBC iPlayer, and they seemed to work.

There’s also a torrenting tab, showing the select countries you can torrent from.

Within this there’s a ‘secure downloading’ option, which is anti-virus/malware.

There’s also an ‘Unblocking’ tab, which is the same server list, but bigger and with a search bar. It’s countries only though. It would be nice if you could see more stats like ping.

Personally I dislike these ‘mode’-based interfaces, as it seems to complicate the UX more than it needs to. But some like them.

There’s a fair few settings.

Under general, there’s a few startup and auto-connect settings.

You can also choose your default ‘mode’ but you can’t pick favorites or auto-connect to a specific server.

Under ‘Connection, you can select your protocol – OpenVPN TCP or UDP, as well as IKEv or L2TP.

The kill switch you can just turn off or on.

There’s a nice split tunneling feature, which is pretty rare on desktops.

Finally, there’s multiport, a port control option.

The mobile app (we tested Android) opens onto the same ‘Smart Connect’ tab.

The server list opens up full-screen, which is better, and there’s a search bar.

You can still click on the server list whilst connected, but it seems to disconnect you as soon as you select another location, whilst not yet connecting to the new location until you press the button.

This leaves you open, which doesn’t seem a smart choice.

Modes are rebranded ‘Purposes’. They are all listed on the first tab.

All the streaming channels still seem to be there, as well as the torrenting servers. A lot of VPNs leave out the torrent servers on mobiles.

Surprisingly, all the settings are still there apart from the auto-connect ones. There’s still a kill switch, split tunneling and even multi port. You can still choose your protocol, but it’s only UDP or TCP.

Usability (Summary)

Ivacy has US Netflix and Hulu along with 77 other international channels, and great compatibility including Firesticks, Smart TVs and routers. The apps are attractive and fairly easy-to-use with a fair few settings.

Pricing & Refunds

Ivacy has 1 month, 1 year and 2 year options. 

The 1 month price is an average $9.99, but then it launches into some record discounts. It’s just $3.33 for 1 year, which is probably the cheapest 1 year plan going.

The 2 year plan is just $2.25, which is even cheaper than Nord’s famously low 3 year plan.

A pop-up kept an announcing a promotion deal of $1.33 for 5 years.

This suddenly sounded suspicious, and sure enough, it turns out Ivacy offers those dodgy lifetime deals.

You can in fact get Ivacy for $40…for life.

Lifetime deals have a bad rep due to the vagueness of what ‘lifetime’ means, the lack of incentive to keep the quality high, and the tendency for companies to close the company and run away with the money.

Still, Ivacy have been around a while, since 2007, so they’re probably not playing this game.

Port forwarding is an added extra for $1 a month, and dedicated IPs are available for an extremely cheap $1.99 a month. They are usually way more expensive.

As an added bonus, Ivacy gives you a free Sticky Password Premium account for 1 year.

There’s a wide variety of payment methods including Bitcoin, Paymentwall and Alipay.

They clearly advertise a very generous 30-day money-back guarantee. But it turns out in the fine print, this doesn’t apply to 1 month accounts. They’re only 7 days. Talk about sneaky. Plus if you pay by crypto or Paymentwall, you’re also out.

There is actually a 1-day trial available, but it’s buried in the support center.

Pricing (Summary)

Ivacy has 1 month, 1 year and 2 plans. The 1 month price is average, but the 1 and 2 year prices are super cheap. Ivacy also offers ridiculously cheap 5 year and lifetime deals, which seems dodgy. There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee, but 1 month accounts have only 7 days. You can pay by Bitcoin, Alipay and Paymentwall, though.

Support

Ivacy has 24/7 live chat, hurray!

Unfortunately, though the staff are quick to assist, they really don’t seem to know much. Or maybe we just got unlucky with who we spoke to.

For example, when I asked about the server list they just gave me a link. This page listed all their individual servers, but there was no total number. I kept telling them this but it was like talking to a bot on repeat.

Finally, they came back with ‘we have 1,000+ servers in 100+ locations’.

How very specific.

They seemed to have one copy and paste answer for everything, without having a clue what it meant technically. Then if you followed up, they just repeated it back to you.

Email was definitely better, giving more relevant answers and answering most of our questions correctly.

However, a bit of the information was just plain wrong.

They said the torrenting servers available depended on the protocol, and if you used OpenVPN you could only use 10 countries. On the interface, it’s 27.

The support center has absolutely no organization to it.

All you can see are a list of random articles, recent articles, and a search bar. No categories whatsoever, which is strange. Not even an FAQ.

The search bar seems to reveals a very extensive knowledgebase though, with 9 pages of everything from general information to troubleshooting.

The search bar doesn’t give instant feedback, and sometimes it didn’t turn up relevant results even when there was an article available.

There’s a decent set of manual setup guides, though nothing manual available for platforms where they already have apps, like Windows.

There’s also a blog, covering everything from privacy news, to instructions, to service updates.

Fortunately, this does have categories, so you can just see the service updates if you wish.

Support (Summary)

Ivacy has 24/7 live chat and email via a ticketing system. The live chat staff were quick to respond but didn’t seem to have much know-how. The email was a lot better, although it gave a couple of incorrect answers. The knowledgebase is very extensive, but with no organization.

What Do Other Reviewers Say?

What does the rest of the internet have to say about Ivacy VPN? Here’s a summary of other reviews.

All were impressed with the size of the server network, one calling it outstanding for the price. A couple quoted lower numbers of 450 servers so the network must have grown rapidly recently.

Generally others reported faster speeds than us. One said local connections were fast, but long distance was unbearably slow. One said it was average, another said it was good, and one said it was excellent.

Most were impressed with the technical security, including the AES encryption and range of protocols. One even said it works in China. However, one said the company admitted they use virtual servers, which is a concern. Another said the apps didn’t seem to be using the OpenVPN protocol, which was worrying.

None found any leaks, however.

All loved their privacy policy, calling it excellent and strictly no-logs. None mentioned the ‘App usage’ clause or had any concerns. They said it was spelled out clearly, and there’s no traffic, duration, or bandwidth logs. They also said it’s maintained its no-logs reputation since its inception.

All praised the P2P-optimized servers, and none criticized the restrictions. All except one found the ‘Streaming Mode’ worked well for various channels, including Netflix, ABC, CBS and NBC. 1 even said other servers apart from the US could access Netflix.

Most liked the interface, calling it sleek and smooth. Unlike us they also liked the ‘mode’ design. Like us, one was impressed that the Android app was as feature-rich as the desktop. Most said it was pretty powerful, though one said there weren’t many options.

All liked the device compatibility, including guides for gaming consoles, one even saying it was the best they’ve seen. Surprisingly, 2 reviews said it wasn’t compatible with Tor though.

A major difference was everyone had very positive support experiences. They found the live chat extremely knowledgeable and helpful. One even called them flawless. However, one said they would like a bit more detailed responses, and another said they couldn’t handle technical issues.

They said the knowledgebase had quite an assortment of articles, but was not as detailed as they’d like and some of it was outdated.

All agreed the price was spectacularly low, especially the 1 and 2 year options. Most had absolutely zero concerns over this, although one said it seemed to offer all the features for virtually nothing. A couple said the refund policy had a sneaky 500MB clause, but this has now been removed.

What Do Other Reviewers Say (Summary)

Most rated it excellent. They generally liked the price, server network, streaming, torrenting, no logs, interface and support. There was very little they consistently didn’t like.

Our Verdict

Let’s face it, Ivacy looks too good to be true.

It’s got a massive server network, tons of streaming, a fair amount of torrenting, and great device compatibility.

The interface looks sleek and is usable enough, with a powerful mobile app.

It’s easy enough for beginners to navigate, but with just enough settings for advanced users.

There’s little to dislike here. The speeds are slightly below average. The live chat is poor, but email is OK.

And the price. After the 1 month option, it’s ridiculously cheap. Almost too cheap. With their lifetime deals, it’s like they are begging to take your money and commitment. Why? How do they afford all these features?

It would raise alarm bells, yet Ivacy’s been around a long time and there’s never been a scandal.

We’d like to see an independent audit to allay our fears, and I still wouldn’t go for any lifetime deal, but the 1 or 2 year option seems to be a steal.

We would recommend this VPN and rate it 4.5 out of 5.


Read More VPN Reviews

Learn More About VPNs

Leave a Comment

css.php